Four LeadingAge California Member Communities Recognized for Excellence by

Contributed by: Casey Kelly-Barton,

Four LeadingAge California member communities have earned 2015 Best of Senior Living Awards, based on consistently positive ratings from residents and their families.

Now in its 2nd year,’s Best of Senior Living program identifies the top 1 percent of senior communities and in-home care services nationwide. To be considered for inclusion, communities must have an average overall rating of at least 4.5 out of 5 possible stars on, the foremost review site for senior living communities and services across the U.S. This year’s nearly 900 winners were chosen from approximately 100,000 senior care providers listed on

The four LeadingAge California member communities that earned this year’s award are:

Acacia Creek – Union City, CA

AlmaVia of San Francisco – San Francisco, CA

Bixby Knolls Towers – Long Beach, CA

Royal Oaks – Duarte, CA 

Together, these four communities had an average rating of 4.63 out of 5. Reviewers who left high marks for them mentioned a combination of outstanding staff members, friendly residents, and beautiful settings among the things that appealed to them:

As a 77-year old widow with no family in the area I made the hard decision to leave our beloved home and move to Royal Oaks because I could foresee a lonely future with a caretaker. Four years later I’ve had not one moment of regret. Security, companionship, leisure activities, intellectual stimulation, volunteer opportunities, all in beautiful surroundings. I am thriving – living my Third Act – enjoying every stress-free day, all with the knowledge the hard decisions are behind me and now is the time to enjoy and ” BE” all that I can be.

Overall this year, California has the most Best of Senior Living Awards winners of any state.

“ aims to help families research and locate reliable, first-hand feedback on senior care options from other families who have gone through the same experience,” said Eric Seifert, President of “We are proud to celebrate the exceptional businesses who care for our greatest generation and older loved ones, and provide these organizations with the recognition they deserve.”

To see a complete list of this year’s award-winning communities, read the complete award criteria, and view previous winners, please visit

The Terraces at Los Altos Names Andrea Margulies Program Manager of Memory Support Residences

Contact: Dani Row
GlynnDevins, Public Relations

TLA Andrea MarguliesLOS ALTOS, Calif. – The Terraces at Los Altos recently named Andrea Margulies program manager for the senior living community’s memory support residences, The Grove. Margulies brings a unique perspective through her experience working with older adults with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia by using expressive art therapy. With the help of Margulies’ direction, The Terraces at Los Altos offers music, art and pet therapy, and has partnered with a number of local organizations to offer progressive programs for residents with memory loss.

“In my experience, individuals respond to all different types of therapies, so it’s important to provide a variety to meet the needs of each resident,” said Margulies, who holds a master’s degree in expressive therapies. “The Terraces at Los Altos already has a number of unique programs and services in place for skilled nursing and memory support, and I’m looking forward to improving upon them to best fit the needs of our residents.”

Prior to joining The Terraces, Margulies served as the administrator-in-training at a nursing home. She also previously worked as director of kaleidoscope, an enrichment program using expressive art therapies, where she incorporated music, dance, visual arts and poetry to offer therapy tailored to the needs of each individual.

The Terraces at Los Altos is centered around The Best Friends™ Approach, an innovative program that focuses on building relationships with residents based on individual life stories and experiences, and provides a therapeutic environment, creative activities, and well-trained professionals who help residents feel safe, secure and valued. Music, art and pet therapy have been found to enhance the relationships between caregivers and residents, as well as the overall happiness of each resident.

“We continue to be leaders in the field of senior living, not only in Los Altos, but throughout California, and strive to provide the most forward-thinking programs, services and amenities for our residents and their families,” said Rae Holt, executive director at The Terraces at Los Altos.

The Terraces at Los Altos was also recently awarded the Architectural Design & Enhancement award by the Los Altos Chamber of Commerce, for its unique exterior, that use similar designs as homes in the Los Altos area. The interior of the new residences are the first of their kind in California, to offer “neighborhood-style” suites that surround common spaces, including a kitchen, and open living and dining room. This design will increase social interaction for residents in skilled nursing and memory support residences. Construction was completed in April 2014, and includes 30 skilled nursing suites and 16 private memory suites.

Learn more about The Terraces at Los Altos:

Klaus Richter Named Executive Chef at Covenant Village of Turlock

CONTACT: Laura J. Bemis, 209-632-9976,

KLAUS RICHTER NAMED EXECUTIVE CHEF AT COVENANT VILLAGE OF TURLOCKTURLOCK, Calif.— Klaus Richter has been named executive chef at Covenant Village of Turlock, a faith-based, not-for-profit continuing care retirement community located at 2125 North Olive Avenue, Turlock, Calif. He is employed by the community’s dining services provider Sodexo and will report to Covenant Village of Turlock Dining Services Director Anne Dean.

In his new position, Richter will manage day-to-day food operations for the resident community, including casual and formal dining in the residential and assisted living and healthcare settings. He is responsible for managing and training a kitchen staff of 60, creating innovative, healthful menus, and managing the community’s catering services.

“Chef Klaus brings an international flair to our cuisine at Covenant Village, and our residents are already raving about his Mediterranean snapper dish,” said Executive Director Bob Howell.  “We’re pleased to have him on board.”

Born and raised in Vigo, Spain, Richter graduated from Escuela de Hosteleria San Javier Culinary School in La Coruña, Spain where he earned his Culinary Arts diploma. He brings to Covenant Village 25 years of culinary experience, during which he worked at The Arona Gran Hotel and Hotel Paradise Park, both four-star hotels in The Canary Islands, and trained with Swiss-born Chef Reto Demarmels in Boca Raton, Fla. Most recently, he was executive chef at Harbor’s Edge, Delray Beach, Fla.

Richter lives in Turlock, Calif.

To learn more about Covenant Village of Turlock,  visit


Bethany Home Hosts “As I Age” Wall at Almond Blossom Festival

Contact: Rob Wagner, Bethany Home

In between the carnival rides and vendor displays, visitors to Ripon’s Almond Blossom Festival are invited to reflect on aging. Chalk in hand, they will complete the phrase “As I age…” on a large chalkboard wall. The “As I age” wall is an adaptation of the popular Before I Die installations by artist Candy Chang. The walls that have been installed in more than 70 countries.

Bethany’s Director of Development, Rob Wagner, first saw the wall at conference on aging in Nashville. “It is our hope that, by inviting individuals to complete the sentence, ‘As I age,’ we will motivate others to live the lives they are meant to live each and every day,” said Wagner. “We want to spark a discussion about the process of growing older, and allow people to express how they hope their lives will evolve as they age.”

Any passerby may participate in the project by picking up a piece of chalk at the wall and completing the sentence “As I age …” Those not able to make it to the Almond Blossom Festival to write on the wall in person can contribute to it virtually on their favorite social media platforms using #AsIAge.

On Friday February 20, at 11 AM, Bethany Home and the Ripon Chamber of Commerce will host a ribbon cutting to celebrate this project. Please join us!
The wall will be at Mistlin park through the weekend before coming back to Bethany home for a stint.

More information about the Before I Die walls and other works by Candy Chang is available at More information about Bethany Home can be found at For more information, please contact Rob Wagner, Director of Communications at 209-481-9995.


A Valentine’s Day Story – Wilmer and Beulah

One of our members, Valle Verde in Santa Barbara, shared a lovely story with us about a couple celebrating their 71st Valentine’s Day together:

VV The HaasesWilmer and Beulah Haas met in high school, and one year later at just 19 years old, were married. Now the couple is on their way to celebrating their 71st Valentine’s Day together.

Valentine’s Day traditions are usually the same for the Santa Barbara couple. For as long as she can remember, Beulah has been making her husband’s favorite dessert for him, her special pecan pie, and they always share an intimate and romantic night together, just like they did more than 70 years ago.

Through all the cross-country moves, new jobs, anniversaries, fights, make-ups, tears and laughter the Haases have been through it all. They say the secret to a successful marriage is respect, and admitting when you’re wrong – it’s all about the give and take. In a time where separation and divorce rates are so high, they’ve always lived by the rule that they were in it for the long run, no matter what obstacles came their way.

Today, Wilmer and Beulah live happily together at their home at Valle Verde, and are blessed with eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Their five children see them as role models for what marriage should be like, and aspire to have the same kind of commitment years down the road, just like their parents.

A Visit at Rolling Oaks

Our Membership Manager, Maricel Lumaquin, recently visited one of our member communities, Rolling Oaks Apartments in Rocklin, and shared a few words about her enjoyable experience there. 

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon on January 13, 2015 when I visited Rolling Oaks Apartments, a VOA 78 unit affordable housing in Rocklin. I was greeted with smiles by residents in the lobby. Turning right was the office of Suzi Johnson, Service Coordinator for 8 years. Her office was adorned by beautiful decorations given to her by her residents, reflecting the diversity and different cultures of the community. Suzi knows her residents and they love her. She takes notes of all her interactions with them and enters them in the computer when she has time. Her record keeping helps her when something unusual is happening such as when a resident hasn’t been out of his apartment. She is their buddy, their counselor, she is their friend. She is a people person.

At 74, Suzi is an example that age is just a number. She is very energetic and sharp. She drives every day from her West Sacramento home. And she loves what she’s doing.

Her words of wisdom… “Surround yourself with good people and positive environment.”

Maricel Lumaquin, Membership Manager for LeadingAge California. Maricel can be reached at (916) 469-3373 or

Orange County’s Quaker Gardens Senior Living Renames to Rowntree Gardens


Contact: Jason Sherman, Sherman Communications and Marketing

Nearly a half-century since its founding in 1965, Quaker Gardens Senior Living has been renamed Rowntree Gardens.

The 335-resident community, is one of Orange County’s only licensed, nonprofit, continuing care retirement communities. Rowntree Gardens is retooling nearly everything from its branding to its structures to its menus to its offerings.

In late 2013, Rowntree Gardens launched an extensive review to identify what changes would be necessary to flourish during the next 50 years. That review encompassed its internal and external audience perceptions and needs, services, physical infrastructure, brand promise and relevance.

“This is a very exciting and dynamic time at Rowntree Gardens,” explained Chief Executive Office and Board Chair Randy Brown. “We’re here to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of people through all seasons of life with compassionate and skilled care. We hope everything we do brings to life our vision statement, ‘To be a daily blessing to all we encounter.’”

Read the full press release.